All About Running

Running terms and their slang verbage have become common language for me since I started running in 2006. But, when I try to explain what it is that runners do to a person that doesn’t run, I get a blank stare or disbelief. Yes, there really is such a thing as bloody nipples. No, a fartlek isn’t how it sounds. A runner’s high is a euphoric world. Below is a list of running terms to help explain some of what crazy runners do every day, from track workouts to ultra races and injuries to treatments.

Running Terms Explained

Running Terms for Shoes

  1. Flats – Track shoes built for fast running. Flats can also have spikes attached.
  2. Rock Plate – Part of a trail running shoe that provides more protection when stepping on rocks.

Minimal Shoes – Mimic the natural stride and foot strike of running barefoot.

  1. Barefoot – Barefoot running is designed to mimic natural stride and foot strike. Runners now have the option of numerous minimalist or five-finger shoes, but some do actually run barefoot, too.
  2. Stability shoe – Usually a little heavier shoe designed to increase medial support which may increase stability to the foot and lower leg. This in return should lower the amount of pronation in the foot.

Running Terms for How To Get Faster

  1. Fartlek – Training method where runners will accelerate for a brief time then slow back down to a jog. This kind of training can happen over many miles.
  2. Repeats – Training sessions that consist of a specified distance run numerous times. For example, 4×1 mile would be running four, one mile repeats with a rest period in between. Target each repeat at or around the same lap time.
  3. Interval Training – Type of training that utilizes high-intensity (HI) segments with low-intensity (LI) recovery segments. For example, after a warm up, 30 seconds HI with 60 seconds LI, 60 seconds HI with 60 seconds LI, 45 seconds HI with 45 seconds LI. Distances of intervals vary by training goal.
  4. Ladder Workout – Type of interval training that involves starting with a lower distance and increasing the next interval by a specified distance, and typically working back down by the same specified distances. For example, intervals of 200, 400, 800, 1200, 800, 400, and 200 meters run at target pace.
  5. Tempo Run – Type of training run involving a steady pace around 20 to 30 seconds slower than marathon goal pace and for 8 to 13 miles.
  6. Long run – Depending on the distance that a runner is training for, a long run might be 16-28 miles for a marathon or 30 to 50 for an ultra race.
  7. Doubles – A running term to describe running twice a day.

Other Running Terms for Training

  1. Strength training – Training that includes runner specific weight lifting routines to help become stronger and more efficient.
  2. Deliberate practice – Deliberate practice is a term coined by K. Anders Ericsson, a psychologist at Florida State University, and refers to practice that incorporates setting goals, developing skills, and correcting mistakes. The effort is as much mental as it is physical.
  3. Taper – Easy running and a rest period prior to a race. This period can begin two or three weeks prior to the race date.
  4. Chi running – Type of running designed with the principles of relaxation, posture and mindfulness of Tai Chi.
  5. Simulator Run – Term keyed by Team Hansons Brooks in which a runner will run a 26.2k (16 miles) training race at their marathon pace, prior to their taper period. Hansons Brooks studies have shown that if a runner can hit their goal pace for the 16 miles, when muscles are tired, they should be able to run the same speed during a marathon after their taper. Hansons Brooks has had two marathoners make the Olympic team. One in 2008 and one in 2012.
  6. Dress rehearsal – Running a good training run while wearing the clothes and shoes, eating the same foods and drinking the same fluids, as expected to do on race day. This will help to build confidence and test anything that might be a question.
  7. LSD – No, not the popular 1960’s drug. LSD stands for a long, slow distance run. For beginners this run might be 5 miles. For more advanced runners, LSD can range from 18-30 miles. If training for an ultra marathon of 65 to 100 miles, some runners might go 50 miles on their LSD.
  8. Altitude training – Training for several weeks at elevations higher than 8000 ft. Runners that utilize this type of training can adapt to the relative lack of oxygen in one or more ways such as increasing the mass of red blood cells and hemoglobin. The result can be faster times in races at or near sea level.
  9. Walk breaks – Exactly as it sounds, this running term was made popular by marathon legend, Jeff Galloway.
  10. Easy run – Recovery run at least two minutes per mile slower than goal pace.
  11. Negative – Running the second portion of a course faster than the first.

Running Terms for Supplements and Stations

  1. Gels – Quick source of carbohydrate energy that comes in individual packets. Runners typically eat one every 30 to 45 minutes during a race.
  2. Glycogen – Long carbohydrate molecules that are made and stored primarily in the cells of the liver and the muscles. Glycogen is the secondary long-term energy source.
  3. Carb loading – Period of time prior to a race when runners cut back on proteins and fats and increase their carbohydrates to increase glycogen storage.
  4. Fuel – Fuel can come from different sources such as gels, food and electrolyte replacement drinks.
  5. Buffet – Ultra running aid station.
  6. Aid station – Station during a race where water, gels, electrolyte drinks and/or food are given to runners.

Running Terms for Injuries

  1. Chafe – Chaffing happens around the armpits or between the legs when the skin becomes irritated from friction.
  2. Chapped – When the insides of your legs become painful with a burning sensation due to the friction of repetitive motion. There are many other similar running terms to describe this, but chapping and chaffing are the most common.
  3. Dead toes – Maybe the most painful running terms. Dead toe nails that have turned black and have blisters.
  4. Runners knee – Knee pain around the kneecap. Usually more noticeable when squatting or bending.
  5. Runners toes – Black toe nails or toes that have lost nails due to the pressure and repetitive friction of shoes on the toes.
  6. RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate. To help recover from injury.
  7. DOMS – Delayed onset muscle soreness. This is the soreness that sets in days after training or racing. Some specially designed supplement formulas help decrease this.
  8. Bloody nipples – Occurence that happens when the friction from a shirt and the nipple rub together over a long race.
  9. IT Band – Band on the outside of the knee that can cause pain with overuse (also known as Iliotibial band).
  10. Runners trots – Having an upset stomach and needing to have a bowel movement during a race. This is one of those running terms that would only make sense to a runner who has experienced it.
  11. Lactic Acid – Acid biproduct of metabolism that builds up in muscles and blood during intense exercise. It is noticed when muscles begin to burn and/or ache, and can also result in a feeling of breathlessness or tachycardia.
  12. Stitch – Side ache. Stitches usually go away with some slower, deeper breathing.

Running Terms for a Track

  1. Quarter – One lap around a track.
  2. The oval – Another name for a track.
  3. Lanes – Track lanes. There are six on standard tracks.
  4. Track – A track is a surface that has six lanes and is 400 meters in distance for one lap from the inside lane.

Running Terms for Types of Runners

  1. Horse – Runner who doesn’t seem to ever get tired.
  2. Rabbit Runner – A runner that sets a goal pace for other runners so they might achieve a better time. Rabbits usually leave the race before the end. In some instances, especially in a marathon, rabbits may decide to finish.
  3. Pace Runner – A pace runner can be one of the most important running terms for someone trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Joining a pace group can keep runners on a desired goal.
  4. Masters – Division classified over a certain age. In some races, that age begins at 40 where as others start at 50.
  5. Streaker – No, not Will Ferrell in Old School. This running term refers to a runner who has finished the same race multiple years in a row.
  6. Clydesdale – Male division of 200+ lbs. runners.
  7. Athena – Division of female runners over a certain weight. That weight varies from 140 to 150 lbs.
  8. Bandit Runner – A runner who didn’t officially register for a race but runs it anyway.
  9. Front runner – A runner that doesn’t like to race from behind and sets the pace. Steve Prefontaine was a great front-runner –

Running Terms for Events or Races

  1. Ultra Marathon – Running event that is more than 26.2 miles. The most common events are 50k races through mountain trails. Other events include 50 mile, 100k and 100 mile races. There’s also the occasional race that is over 100 miles.
  2. Stage Race – Event when runners race to a certain point on a course. These races usually vary in distance from 10 to 26 miles per segment, and extend over multiple days. Some events even force runners to carry their own supplies.
  3. Hill Climb Event – Hill climbs vary in distance of 5 to 13 or so miles. Climbing courses typically have very little flat or descent sections. In Europe it is known as Sky Running.
  4. Relay – Type of race that is multi-day and usually covers 100 to 200+ miles with teams of 6 to 12 runners.
  5. Obstacle Racing – New trend of races including running in mud, climbing ropes, walls or ladders, ducking under barbed wire and jumping from high heights.
  6. Adventure races – Races that usually include running, canoeing, orienteering and biking. These events also take place over a couple of days.
  7. Marathon – 26.2 miles or 42 kilometers

Miscellaneous Running Terms

  1. Runner’s High – A euphoric mental state caused when the body’s endorphins kick in either towards the end of a race or after.
  2. K – A kilometer is a metric unit of distance equivalent to.62 miles. For example, 5k equals 3.1 miles.
  3. Single track – A mountain trail that has been formed into one lane.
  4. Fire Roads – Unpaved, off-road portions of a trail race used to help create a course.
  5. Black Diamond Trail – Ranking for a very difficult trail.
  6. VO2 – VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen that an athlete can utilize during intense sessions of exercise.
  7. Hamster wheel – Another Name for a treadmill.
  8. Death march – Usually at the end of a marathon or longer race, when the body and mind have reached a limit and the runner is forced to walk or shuffle run.
  9. Form – Perfect running form incorporates head tilt, shoulders, arms, torso, hips, leg stride and ankles/feet.
  10. Cadence – The number of steps per minute.
  11. The Wall – One of my favorite running terms. The Invisible wall that runners can experience towards the end of a race due to the lack of energy and possibly training. There is no other way to mimic the feeling of “hitting the wall.”
  12. Supination – Supination is the excessive outward rolling motion of the foot and ankle during a running stride.
  13. Gait – A series of foot movements that propel runners forward.
  14. Shorty’s – Really short shorts.
  15. PR – A personal record for distance or time at a certain race.
  16. Out-and-back – a run or race that is run one-way to a specific point then reversed to end at the starting point.
  17. Point-to-point – a course that starts and ends at different locations. Usually in a line. Boston Marathon is considered a point-to-point.
  18. Ice Bath – Filling a bathtub with ice and cold water or utilizing a cool stream or lake to dip your legs in. The effect the cold has on recovery is to reduce inflammation by constricting blood vessels.
  19. Endorphins – A biproduct of the “runners high”. Endorphins are neurotransmitters, chemicals that pass along signals from one neuron to the next that give us a happy feeling.
  20. Chip – Device used to help time runners during a race.
  21. Bib – What runners wear during a race, includes race number and sometimes a name.
  22. Bonk – Like the wall, this is a point during a training run or race where a runner gets tired due to low glycogen levels.
  23. Baby steps – When a runner is extremely tired, they might need to take very short steps to keep going.
  24. Packs – Packs can be used to carry gels, hydration packs and/or electrolyte replacement tabs, such as NUUN. The newest style of packs are ultra-lite vests that can carry multiple water bottles and have storage for small coats and gels.
  25. Ghost mile(s) – Miles that seem to go by fast and are hard to remember. Sort of like a ghost.
  26. Markers – In trail running, markers are typically flags attached to trees. A road race will utilize a mile label or flag as the marker.
  27. Trail running – Races that are all or mostly run on dirt trails and either in the mountains or sometimes on dirt portions of old rail road routes.
  28. FOMO (fear of missing out) – Fitting in a training run or race in fear of not maximizing fitness or performance. If runners choose to race due to FOMO, overtraining can occur.
  29. Overtraining – Training too much causing either burnout, injury or both.
  30. The Zone – Time in a race when everything from energy levels and how the body feels makes you feel like you could run forever.
  31. Vitamin I – Ibuprofen, and one of the best and most necessary running terms.
  32. Switchback – Section of single track trail that instead of going straight up a hill, will zig-zag up.
  33. LT (lactic threshold) – A point during an all-out training exercise at which lactic acid builds up in the blood stream faster than the body can expel it. Specific training can help the body remove lactic acid faster.
  34. RE (running economy) – The measure of how efficient a runner uses oxygen while running a specific pace.
  35. Corral – Starting location for runners based on time or other criteria. Usually used in bigger, busier races.
  36. Overpronation -.When at foot-strike the foot rolls inward.
  37. Drafting – When a runner or runners use the leader to block the wind and be able to run more efficient.
  38. Sleeves – Arm or leg sleeves. Arm sleeves are used to keep runners warm without having to wear an extra shirt. Leg sleeves help leg circulation which helps with recovery.
  39. Splits – Splits could be time per lap or time per mile.
  40. DNF – Did not finish. One of the running terms that no runner ever wants to see next to their name.

This list of running terms is a compilation of language that I have learned over the last few years that would have never made sense before but make perfect sense now. Hopefully this helps aid in your understanding of some of the most crazy running terms out there.


Easy Tips To Start Running

With more people wanting to lose weight or get in shape, running has exploded in popularity over the past decade with 42 million regular runners, according to a Runners USA report. Running is a great exercise with many benefits including weight loss, strengthening of your cardiovascular system, and increased happiness by relieving stress.

Start running armed with these simple tips-you will build up your running from minutes to miles, whether you’re a beginner or getting back in shape.

Set realistic goals.

As a beginner, you should first write down some short term goals that you can easily achieve. Post them on the refrigerator to remind you. They may be as simple as “I will work out for five minutes longer today.” Build on these small victories first to get a sense of accomplishment before setting long term goals. Later, as your running progresses, and to challenge yourself, make long term goals that you can conquer. One day you may find yourself running in a 5k, 10k or 13.1 half marathon.

Start with the right shoes.

For a sport that depends on healthy feet, a quality pair of running shoes is the most important gear you will need. Deciding which shoes are right for you can seem overwhelming, but visit a running store where they have specialized personnel trained to analyze your running gait and recommend the best running shoes for your style. A reasonable price for a good pair of running shoes will cost $75-$100. Replace your shoes every 300 to 500 miles.

Get the proper running apparel.

While you don’t need to break the bank for running clothes, it is important to buy the right apparel. Cotton t-shirts and shorts will get heavy when they become wet from sweat, which may cause painful chafing to your skin. Invest in running clothes made of 100% polyester or similar synthetic materials that wick away sweat and keep you more comfortable. Women should always wear a supportive sports bra to prevent permanent sagging of their breasts.

Fuel your body.

Running will help you burn 400 calories or more per hour. But in order to get or maintain a fit body, you’ve got to replace them with healthy food. “Your pre-run snack should be sugar boosting, like a banana, energy bar or energy drink says Coach Edwards. Running on an empty stomach is neither good for your body nor does it make running fun.

Hydrate before you run.

Beginners need to pay attention to what and how much they’re drinking before, during and after exercise. Staying hydrated is critical to your running performance and, more importantly, for preventing heat-related illnesses. Drink water often during the day. “The rule of thumb is to multiply your body weight by 0.6 to determine the amount of water in ounces you should consume every day to keep your tissues healthy and injury free,” Coach Edwards says. Dehydration in runners may cause fatigue, headaches, decreased coordination, and muscle cramping.

Stretch before and after your run.

Some research suggests that static stretching cold muscles can cause injury. “Loosen up cold muscles with light stretching of your quadriceps, hamstrings and calves to avoid shin splints, hamstring pulls and other common running injuries. Hold each stretch for 15-25 seconds. Add easy jumping jacks, a five minute run, or a brisk walk,” says Elizabeth Edwards, a high school track coach and 9 time marathon runner. Cool down the same way to help maintain a healthy range of motion in your joints and prevent tight muscles, which can cause inefficient form and injuries.

Motivational music is cool.

While some runners think music is distracting, many runners believe music provides them an advantage when they pump up their tunes. “Research is mixed on the topic, but I use my music playlist to pace my distance. One day out the week I run without music to focus on my form,” says Coach Edwards. Other runners enjoy listening to books, podcasts or motivational speeches to pass the time. Try what works best for you.

Start at a slow pace.

While you may feel you can run a good distance fairly fast, start with 20 to 30 minutes (your body will be surprised at how long it feels!). Don’t overdo it. Give your body a chance to adjust to this new activity. Gradually increase your distance with a walk and run plan until your stamina improves. Aim to increase your running by 10 percent each week. You should be able run and to carry on a conversation without being out of breath. As you start to feel stronger, run more and walk less, the distance will naturally increase. This will ultimately help you feel better and stay injury free.

Think about your form.

When starting, it normal to feel awkward during the first few weeks of running, even if you’ve run in the past and are starting up again. Start every running workout by thinking about good running form; ensure that:

– Head is balanced over your shoulders and focused forward

– Shoulders are relaxed to allow your lungs to expand

– Arms are around 90 degrees and swinging like a pendulum from your shoulders

– Hands are relaxed and not crossing over your belly button as your arms swing

– Hips are under your shoulders and stabilizing your legs as they move under your body

– Feet are landing with short, light, quick strides under your hips

Decide where to run.

If you choose to run on a treadmill, your surface is stable and there are no concerns about the weather. But, like many runners, you may need to step out your front door and run outside for a change of scenery. Running on sidewalks or pathways is generally safe. But if you have to run on the road, run facing traffic so you can react to distracted drivers. Wear bright or reflective clothing to improve visibility, especially before dawn or at dusk. Drivers may not always see you, especially at night. School tracks are ideal places to start running, since they’re flat, traffic free, and four laps around most tracks equal one mile. Many tracks are available to the public in the evening or on the weekends.

Running is safe.

Whether you are running near a police station or a near a high crime area, you should always think safety first. You need to be safe on your runs, so you’re well enough to run another day. Take the necessary precautions by carrying a cell phone, carry identification with your name and phone number and avoid unlit or isolated areas. Remember to alter or vary your running routes to avoid stalkers. Be extra cautious when wearing headphones because you are less likely to hear a person approach you. Consider running with a friend or a dog. Most importantly, trust your intuition and avoid situations if you’re unsure. If you think a situation doesn’t feel ‘right’, run in another direction.

Track your progress.

As you feel stronger, start to measure your run by time and distance. There are easy to use running apps that track your time, distance covered and calories burned. Tracking your running will help keep you motivated and you’ll see your progression.

Give it a rest.

Now that you are running, listen to your body. In most cases, expect some muscle aches and soreness for a few days, especially in the quadriceps and calves. Persistent or worsening pains as you walk or run are indicators that you may be pushing too hard. Back off a bit and you’ll continue to improve without injury. Rest is necessary for your muscles to repair and become stronger. “Depending on your fitness level, beginning runners should start off resting every other day,” according to Edwards.

Reward your efforts.

After a week of workouts, reward yourself for all the hard work with your favorite meal, drink or buy a graphic t-shirt with a running theme to use on your next run. It will motivate you for the upcoming week.

Sign up for a race.

Once you are feeling better about your endurance, sign up for a 5k race. It is great way to add the extra motivational push while giving back to help raise funds for nonprofit organizations of your choice. Sign up is easy online.

Many people either love or hate running. Give running a try, it may change your life. Hopefully, these running tips will get you started and make it fun. But the best tip is to fight through the negative thoughts and continue to push forward. Once you overcome that difficult barrier, the rewards will truly be more satisfying.


Benefit of Triathlon

I have raced triathlons now for 5 years. It never fails that when I walk up to the start line and the announcer is preparing to say “go,” that my heart rate jumps about 20 beats per minute and I get all dry mouthed. This is race anxiety. I have had race anxiety overcome my racing to the point where it impacts my performance. Here are 5 tips for Triathlon Race Anxiety that have helped me to perform better in my races.

Visualize a good race – I usually start getting butterflies and start to have a bit of anxiety when my race is about a month away. I start to look more intently at the instructions for the race in terms of my final preparation. Is this a wave start in the swim or is it a mass start? Is this a hilly course or a flat course? Is the weather going to be hot or cool? All of these questions begin to inhabit my thoughts and I start to get nervous. I then take the time to visualize the race in front of me. Sometimes races will have a video of the race that you can view to gauge a bit of the scenery and the setup of the race. I may even read some online messages about the race to get a better picture of what the race will be like. I then can spend the rest of the month anticipating many of the challenges of the race by visualizing a good performance in the race.


Be Prepared – Nothing gets you more jumpy or increases your heart rate more than panic. If you are unprepared going into the race then you will panic. I do not mean so much the training readiness because hopefully you have taken care of all you can take care of. I will address this issue in this post a bit later. I do mean your equipment needs to be ready. Is your bicycle properly maintained, are your running shoes in good order, do you have all of your nutritional needs together. If you find that you are unprepared when it comes to race day, then your anxiety will increase in a major way. I make sure I make a checklist for my races a couple of weeks away from the start date. Many times the list is the same as previous races, but have a little change or two. I then lay out all of my stuff a day or two ahead of time to make sure it is all there for me to take on race day. I do not need anything to be left out or my anxiety will climb.


Do the training – I get anxious about my training when I reach about 2 weeks to all the way up to the day before the race. My concern is always “Did I train enough?” “Did I put in enough time?” I even play mind games with myself like “Remember that brick workout that you didn’t have time for 5 weeks ago? That is going to be what keeps you from doing well.” The answer is “No it won’t,” but if I miss several workouts in a row or don’t complete the workouts in the plan I have with about 90% accuracy then there may be a problem. The best way to avoid this last minute issue about your training is to do the training. Make sure you have a solid plan to follow and do the training so that you can remind yourself when you start to doubt that you have indeed done the training. I know going into my Ironman race this year, I was really worried that I had not done enough swim training. I had not swam a 2.4 mile stretch of water before race day. I started to panic a bit, then I realized that I had done the prescribed training and I needed to trust the training. I would just remind myself that my training had indeed been enough. I do not like the attitude that says “well, I can’t do anything about it now.” I like to rather say during the training season “I am going to do the training now, so I don’t have to worry about the my training leading up to race day.”


Find your happy place – I have noticed that just before the gun goes off to start the race, my heart rate can really jump high with all of the previous emotions coming together to give me a huge anxiety attack. I have discovered over the years of racing to find my happy place before this happens. For me, I pray to the Lord about what I am about to do and ask for his blessing for the day. I close my eyes and think about all those who support me including my family, friends, and church members. I take deep breaths to calm my heart and almost go into a meditative state. I realize that all my training has led up to this moment and to just relax. I have discovered that if I approach the race calmly then the swim goes a lot better. If I am overwhelmed with emotion and cannot even breathe that the first half of the swim is a disaster and mentally I am headed for a bad day. I also try to think of the happiest place for me to be which is with my family. Find your happy place before you get to race day and go there in your mind to avoid anxiety.


Just have fun – The sport of triathlon is just plain fun. The anxiety comes from our attempts to do well or beat a personal best. Let’s face it most all of those doing triathlon are not going professional and are not going to win the race. I often have people ask me if I am going to win. I respond with “No, I am just going to do my best.” The truth is that the guys who win, even in the age groups, are usually so fast I have no chance of catching them. So, the end result of these feelings is just have fun. Enjoy the experience. Realize that very few people can do what you are about to do. Relax and have a great time. You will think about this race for the rest of your life. There is no reason to panic or be overcome with emotion. Calm yourself down. Calm your heart down. Just have fun!

I know that when I can keep my Triathlon Race Anxiety to a minimum leading up to the race, then I will have a better overall race and a better experience. If you struggle with this type of anxiety, spend the time to follow these simple tips to help you. I hope you have a much better race next time, because of being able to handle your Triathlon Race Anxiety.